I have really enjoyed all of her books so far and was totally bummed a few months ago when I saw that this was out in Australia but not here. Fast forward and I happened to see that a friend on Goodreads was reading it and, raced to put it on hold, and got it a few days later (really library patrons? No big long hold list for this? She’s such a good writer she seems shamefully undiscovered. But maybe that’s just as well because I hate being part of a big popular thing. I digress.)
Although this story was thoroughly different than her other novels it had all the same things about it that I had so enjoyed in the previous works– a somewhat long story, very filled with events, an interesting pacing or setup where what you think would be the end of the book is happening only halfway through so you realize that the story has a lot more to offer, the viewpoints of more than one character, and real humans with flaws. As has been happening lately, this was a book that I did not read the blurb or a review ahead of time and thus had no idea what the story would be about. And I like that! Coming in to the story without any knowledge or ideas of what it will be about made me feel like I was being pulled into a story and taken along on it with no idea what was around each turn. And, by the way, as with her other books, I really wasn’t sure how this was going to end-happily, sadly, tragically, bizarrely-all those scenarios would have worked. (As opposed to, say, a Regency romance where I know, want, and expect a certain outcome.)
The story is told from two points of view–Ellen, who is a hypnotherapist and at the beginning of a new relationship, and Saskia, who is the ex-girlfriend stalker of Ellen’s new love interest. You meet Ellen first, which makes you automatically sympathetic to her, but even though you begin by thinking Saskia is a crazy loon, the more you read her point of view the more you have an understanding of how she came to be the way she is. She was not a black and white good/bad character, and I really liked that. I thought the very real emotions experienced by everyone were totally believable and, in fact, I felt quite teary often for Saskia.
I also really liked the hypnotism angle of the novel. Ellen’s practice is a big part of her life and there were many descriptions of the trances her clients were in. I used self-hynopsis during the birth of my daughter (“hypnobirthing”) and do believe in the amazing power of the mind. In fact, after reading this, I thought “hey! maybe I should go see a hynpotherapist for weight loss!” Of course, I’d really want my hypnotherapist to be Ellen, because she was a delightful character. And her little glass room overlooking the sea was so clear in my mind that I desperately wished I could go there. (Although it’s Australian so I wasn’t really sure what type of seaside to imagine.)
Anyway, another 5 star review. I’m putting Liane Moriarty on my list of very favorite authors.